Tbe Director of Central Intelligence
Cuba has received at least sevenircraft and will probably fill out theighters) thisighters) is unlikely to arrive before the latter portion of the next Cuban-Soviet.
A squadron ofcombat-ready inould modestly improve Cuba's defensive capabilities and its capacity to threaten US reconnaissance flights.
A regiment of, by virtue principally of increased numbers, would improve Havana's island-wide defense. The" prospective transfer to Cuba of the regiment ofresently in Angola would, however, also strengthen Cuban defenses.
The Soviets likely view the deliveriesechnical rather than political issue. They probably regard US protests as similar to past complaints and unlikely to affect superpower relations.
This Executive Brief, requested by the Assistant Secretary of State orfairs. was prepared by the National intelligence Officer for Latin America. It was coordinated within the Intelligence Community at die working level Information as ofas been included in this assessment.
Carrenl and Projected Deliveries
The arrival of tworainers In9 was the Initial delivery of (his fighter aircraft to Cuba. At least five moreere deliveredoviet ship onebruary. There are no indications that further deliveries are underway or likely in (he next few weeks.
We expect, however, lhat Cuba will receive a( least seven additionalnough loull squadron-probably (his
tlie boviets screed in
"proviae one squadron (two trainers andighters) in responseuban requestull regiment (threeoscow' will probably deliver ihe remaining aircraft to fill out the squadron some time this year in orderulfill its contractual obligation under ihe current five year military assistance plan-due to be completed at the end
We have no direct evidence that the Cubans are to receive morequadron any time soon. There is, in fact, some circumstantial evidence lo suggest thai (he Cubans will not receive additional squadrons ofver the next year or so:
ohe Soviets initially
quadron ofo Cuba while subsequent deliveries-two additional squadrons-were spread outeriod of six.
o The Soviets export thender hard currency or barter arrangements to other countries such as India and Iraq while (he Cubans receive the aircraft-as (hey do all Soviet military aid-for free. The delivery of two additional squadrons wouldotential opportunity cost of ai0 million to tbecost they are probably reluctant to bear in the short term. Moreover, ihe Soviet air force is itself short of.
We do not believe lhat there one-for-one near term replacements for theow inost of there stall in Ihe first stage of their lifeears) and are not in need of immediate replacement. Though the Soviets no longer build thehey do produce spare pans for iu We anticipate thai iheill continue io be refurbished and will remain in active service for years more. There most likely replacements in the sense thai as someventually reach the end of their useful life, Ihey will be gradually supplanted by. (We noie also that ai leasi one squadron of Cuba'sre comprised of ihe ground attack variant, for which theighter-isikely replacement.)
Thus, Cuba will probably acquire more, bul over the longeregiment during Ihe next five year.
term, ihc addition oithe Angolan-baseco the Cuban inventory would also mean the Soviets could eventually be replacingircraft and this higher number could argue for some acceleration of the replacement schedule. Cuba's high pilot to planeould alsopeedier expansion and upgrade of inventory.
Impact on Cuban Military Capabilities
Theurpasses Cuba'snterceptor variants andn performance, with improved avionics and greater maneuverability. Its air intercept radar givesook-down capability, but it will not be able to take advantage of this with the air-to-air missiles currently in the Cuban inventory (thendhe more advanced AA-IO could be introduced to Cuba-giving Cubanrue look-down/shoot-down capability--but this Is not likely to occur, given the example of other recipients of thendia, for example, which received the planes still negotiating for (he
A major disadvantage of thes its relatively small fuel capacity-its range is about the same as that of theSec Chart) Itimited ability to conduct ground attack missions, and the Cubans will probably not use it in that role.
One squadron ofouldodest improvement to Cuban air defense capabilities in the Havana area, where it will be based. Il couldmall increase in Havana's ability io attack US reconnaissance aircraft. Cuban pilots may
have received some training on theull squadron would probably be only marginally proficient by the end0 and would not be combat ready before
A regiment ofouldigiuficant improvement in Cuba's air defense, principallyesult of the sheer increase in the numbers of Cuba's fighters. The addition of two more squadrons would allow Havana to redeploy other aircraft out of Havana, thereby improving air defense island-wide. The addition of the regiment of Angolan-based, however, would also result in improved island-wide defense over the next two years.
Theike thendn Cuban inventory, could be configured to carry nuclear weapons. However, the Soviets have not exported this capability or nuclear weapons, and we do not expect them to do so.
The Soviets arc aware of US sensitivities concerning military deliveries to Cuba, but they probably regard lhe delivery ofechnical issue ralheroliticalontinuation of the consistent but measured improvements of Cuba's air defense capabilities that the Soviets have made for nearly three decades. Moscow's provision of the aircraft to Havana is consistent with the pattern of previous deliveries to Cuba and with its military shipments lo other countries. The Soviets have made theheir primary export aircraft and it is possessed by North Korea, India, Iraq, and Syria, among others. Moscow probably assesses Washington's complaints about the delivery as in the same vein as US disgruntlement when theere first delivcred-an event lhat ultimately had no significant impact on superpower relations.
Combat Radii of the Mlg-29Original document.